Saturday, October 17, 2009

it's all part of life

Haven't been here in a while. I have been just a tad busy. All my busy-ness hasn't been for frivolous causes...
You see, there is this great guy I know. I have known him for 39 years. I am not his oldest friend, nor am I his newest... i fall somewhere neatly into the middle of his life. It seems tho, like everyone else who knew him, he had a profound effect on me.

I am referring to my dad. Mr. Richard Gabel. Son of Arthur and Ann Gabel. Brother to Sonny, Janet and Jim. Husband to Iris. Father to Julie, Kelly and Amy. Friend to SOOOO many.

As i sit here and type, the house is full. There are people crammed in every corner. I hear the voice of Joe Linn, talking to my son. I hear my Aunt Janet reminiscing with an old Redwood Friend... Tanya is over, and when i left the room she was holding dad's hand.
This isn't just a rare occurrence that is unique to only today. It is something that has been happening for weeks. Day after day.... people arrive. Some with food, some with cards or plants, but everyone of them, with a memory to share. A memory of who my dad was to them. They come to share their stories with us.

We have learned that my dad threw a tape measure at a bus in San Fransisco, because it ran over his carpet.

We have learned that he caught people doing things they shouldn't, and gently rebuked them, but never spoke ill of them to others.

We have heard stories about trips to Disneyland when he was a paperboy, how stupid Mike the dog was, how patiently he taught someone a trade, or how to drive a car ( i can testify to THAT ONE!)

We have heard how he comforted others in their grief, how he inspired some to be better than they were, how he had a gentle way of getting his point across. How he fixed this bathroom for this person, how that fence was falling till he got there, how he served in Boys Brigade, Sunday School, as an Usher, for Communion, flew missionaries to prisons, was a first person to sponsor a new missionary.... countless stories of servant hearted moments...... all of which have been weaved carefully into the fabric of who he was, and serve as a testimony for the God he served and loved.

When he was first sick, he cried out to God, pleading, for his children and Grandchildren to never have to endure this illness. He cried out to God about his feelings of dying, and feeling like he had no control over it. Time after time, struggle after struggle.... where the rubber met the road, he reached up to talk to God. I would have to say, that speaks volumes to me about how my dad viewed God. Even in his acknowledgement that he was soon going to leave this earth, he didn't rail, he didn't get angry, he didn't blame God. He prayed for healing if it was God's will, and for the grace to endure if it wasn't his time for a miracle.

Often I hear people wonder what people will think of them when they are gone. They wonder how they will be remembered. Blessedly we are being given insight into how dad will be remembered, not only by his immediate family, but by those he has had the occasion to interact with.

It is a reminder to me that all of our lives are on display, others are ALWAYS watching. They watch the pretty, and not so pretty moments of who we are. Dad put floors into peoples homes. He had many the occasion to see new people all the time, many of them unchurched, many that do not know the God he served.... When those people call, they tell us that he is a "neat man", the "kindest man they ever knew", we hear "he always just loved", "he would give you the coat off his back". When i hear these statements from people who are not believers, i know that they are a testimony to a life lived for Christ. They don't use my terminology, but their expressions and endearments, are evidence of a Christ follower in action.
What a wonderful life story to have. To have people seeing the Lord, through you, even when they don't understand fully what they are seeing. I pray that God uses the legacy of Dad's life, to bring those he had the chance to spend time with, to a saving knowledge of Him.

May God grant me the strength and ability to affect those around ME, with the same servant hearted model that my father lived, to carry the legacy....., to return the favor...., of having such a wonderful role model. I pray that my life story is as strong a testimony as dad's.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Julie. Your Dad is a wonderful man... a good and faithful servant of the King of hearts and universes. Grace and Peace be yours in abundance.

  2. Julie, thanks for this blog. It's like a little part of you and your life that I get to read. I am so sorry what your family is going through. Greif is hard. You are an amazingly strong woman and I am so happy to have you in my life (still) and I have such wonderful memories of you and your family. Take care and give your family my love.

  3. Exactly what Jason Wigand was preaching about today... Each of us has a story, but our story is not for us... It's for others. And they are constantly reading it... The gifts we are given are not for us. They are to be used to bless others and turn them toward Christ. Your dad lived a great story, and many have been reading.


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